Pharmacies in Sweden run out of contraceptive pill

A brand of contraceptive pill with a particular type of oestrogen has run out in all of Sweden's pharmacies, which could make it hard for those who use it to find an equivalent.

Pharmacies in Sweden run out of contraceptive pill
No pharmacy in Sweden has the brand of contraceptive available. File photo: Jessica Gow / TT

The pills, with the name Zoely, are not expected to be available in Sweden until after the summer.

It hasn't been possible to deliver the pill since the start of April due to a manufacturing error, and now they have completely run out in Sweden. Pharmaceutical company MSD, which supplies Zoely, has said it is doing all it can to ensure the contraceptive is available again as soon as possible.

“We regret the difficulties this causes for our patients,” said MSD's head of communications Jenny Wahren. She advised those who use the contraceptive to speak to their doctor about “safe alternatives”.

According to Viveca Odlind, professor in gynaecology at the Swedish Medical Products Agency, there are no other contraceptive pills containing the same form of oestrogen as Zoely.

“It contains a certain type of oestrogen, so-called natural oestrogen, while most contraceptive pills contain a synthetic oestrogen,” Odlind told TT.

She said that in theory it should be possible for patients to switch to an alternative, but that the change might not be without problems. First of all, patients need to visit a doctor or midwife in order to have their prescription altered.

“The problem is if you have tried several different types [of contraceptive pills] and found that it's precisely this one which works. You can try another kind, but you can't guarantee that that kind will work exactly as well or without side effects,” Odlind said.

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